"It's not as much going out and incorporating alcohol into a dinner or time spent with family or friends," Johnson says. "Lots of people are sitting home drinking alone now, and historically, that's been viewed as more of a high-risk drinking behavior."
Alcohol use disorder is characterized by loss of control over alcohol drinking that is accompanied by changes in brain regions related to the execution of motivated behaviors and to the control of stress and emotionality (e.g., the midbrain, the limbic system, the prefrontal cortex, and the amygdala).
As with many physical and psychological problems, the researchers found that AUD correlates to socioeconomic status. The lower your income, the more likely it is that you’ll suffer from the disorder. Youth is a risk factor too, with rates in the sample highest among those aged 18-29 and subsequently declining with age. From a developmental point of view, if nothing else, alcohol abuse during adolescence is particularly hazardous.
Partially because it is such a commonly used substance, heavily marketed and glamorized in pop culture, Americans’ comfort with and acceptance of alcohol is high. Should it be?
Researchers are changing how they study the risks of alcohol — and it’s making drinking look worse.
The health effects of alcohol go beyond feeling hungover and sluggish after a night of drinking. In fact, over the years, researchers have discovered both positive and negative ways it can affect the human body depending on how much you imbibe, for how long and how often.
A few years ago, I went to a restaurant with some friends, a couple visiting from out of town. I ordered a glass of wine, while my friends got club soda. They explained that they had stopped drinking.
You know it’s not good for you, sure, but it’s a part of daily life. It’s easy to stop thinking of alcohol like a drug—but it is one. And like any drug, you can become addicted to it without even realizing.